Devour Food & Film Festival
Location: Al Whittle Theatre
450 Main St
Wolfville, Nova Scotia
Date: Sat, Oct 24, 2020
Time: 11:00 am – 12:30 pm
Anyone who wants to learn how to cook over an open fire is best advised to watch the Spanish documentary simply titled, The Art of Cooking with Fire. Chef and grill-meister Victor Arguinzoniz runs Asador Etxebarri, a restaurant in Axpe, Spain, and the food he creates is nothing short of mouth watering even on screen. I’m only imagining how smoked sea urchin in the shell can taste, but when considering this establishment ranked number three in the world’s best restaurants in 2019, I wanna book the first flight over there once this pandemic is over!
In Iñaki Arteta’s presentation about the man, his mission and his life, aficionados of fine cuisine will want to book a reservation and hope they can meet Arginzonz. He’s always busy, either planning the next day’s meal or at the grill, creating magic.
This feature length film is very much a meditative study of this individual. Interestingly, he credits food critic Rafa García Santos as his inspiration. This gastronomer often visits this establishment and probably has a seat reserved just for him. When Santos speaks, foodies everywhere listen.
Victor loves to cook; part of his life was spent learning from his parents, and the hope here is that his sons will take everything they’ve learned and continue the family tradition. Nobody wants that time to happen, but given the spiritual elements imbued in this film, Arginzonz is no doubt preparing himself for that eventuality.
The beautiful countryside of Spain is like heaven. This chef”s journey changes with the seasons. He can be moody. I’m glad he takes time off. Sometimes he’s out taking hikes, and other times he’s tending to his home garden. It’s ironic though, that his private resort also helps supplies herbs for the restaurant.
Cooking with fire is very difficult to master. I tried it a few times on the bbq but it’s not the same as Arginzonz’s custom grill setup. At least, like him, I fully agree charcoal has a harshness which isn’t perfect for grilling and I’m not a fan of propane either. I prefer using lump hardwood too. Victor prefers Holm Oak because of its distinction of being a hardwood which burns long, and the flavours that get imbued into the food is not likely as strong as other types. Although not revealed in this documentary, he does use a wide range of other fragrant woods to pair with particular foods like fine wine.
This film helps viewers get to know this man and the internal struggles he faces. The plot is basically about him fighting against himself. He knows he’s pushing it at times, but that’s what helps drive him. Thankfully, the film injects a bit of food porn to show the end results. His skill to tickle all five senses, even on a screen, is teasing. And those huge ribs he fires up–I’m so there for next week. I just need a private jet!
5 Blokes out of 5